This story was originally published and last updated .
Your Android smartphone probably comes with one of two browsers as the default: Samsung Internet, or Google Chrome. If you've ever found yourself wondering what life is like back in the world of Firefox or lesser-known alternatives like Kiwi in 2020, though, you're not alone. And there are actually substantial differences between the various browsers you can get on Android. Unlike Apple, which requires all third-party browsers to use the Safari rendering engine (and doesn't allow other browsers to be the system default), Google allows any web browser with any engine to be published to the Play Store — giving Android phones and tablets more options for browsing the web than any iOS device.
Kiwi made a name for itself as one of the only browsers that support extensions on Android. The app has also innovated on other parts of the Chromium base by adding a custom implementation of dark mode and by shipping with another take on a bottom bar interface that looks a lot like Google's early attempts at that design. Over the weekend, the developer has decided to make the software open source in order to share these achievements with others interested in building Chromium-based browsers.
Chromium-based Kiwi Browser attracted widespread attention last month after it added support for desktop Chrome extensions. The app recently vanished from the Play Store, and while some assumed it was due to the browser's new extension support, it was apparently removed due to its ability to play YouTube videos in the background — functionality that is supposed to be reserved for the native YouTube app with a Premium subscription.
On desktops, Chrome can be a powerful and individual tool, despite being a resource hog. Depending on your needs, you can customize your browsing experience with extensions, and there is one for almost any use case. Now, Kiwi Browser has added the same feature to its Chromium-based app, making it possible to use Chrome extensions on Android.